Sunderland fans’ dream of owning club still alive – but German consortium can push through deal

Sunderland owner Ellis Short
Sunderland owner Ellis Short
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A trio of Sunderland fans haven’t given up on their ‘dream’ to one day own Sunderland after pulling out of a deal to buy the club from Ellis Short.

TV executives Leo Pearlman, Gabe Turner and Ben Turner, who boast James Corden as a partner in their successful firm, were confident that they would be able to secure the necessary investment to complete a stunning takeover of the Black Cats.

But with the clock ticking after Ellis Short placed a deadline on talks, the Fulwell73 consortium have admitted that it ‘isn’t the right time’ for them to proceed with a bid.

It now leaves a German consortium, who were understood to be much further down the line in discussions over a potential sale, in pole position to try and secure a deal, as the Echo revealed yesterday.

Sunderland will continue their search for a manager should no agreement be reached, with players due back at the Academy of Light in seven days time.

For now there will be no fan ownership of the Black Cats, though the Echo understands they could revisit their interest in the future.

The statement, on behalf of Pearlman and the Turner brothers, read: “As life-long Sunderland supporters, it would be the fulfilment of a dream to be involved in the ownership of the club, to put it back into the hands of the fans and to give the whole of Wearside a team to be proud of.

“Our club is the biggest in the North East, should be one of the biggest in the country and the Premier League is therefore the only place it belongs.

“We have been so touched and inspired by the reaction from our fellow supporters, who rightly deserve their reputation as the best fans in the world.

“However, due to our other TV and film commitments, now isn’t the right time for us to get involved.

“It’s where our hearts are and would demand a huge personal commitment, and we wouldn’t want to give anything less than our all to the club. We owe that to all the other fans for whom, like us, SAFC is such an integral part of their histories and future.

“Whether it is Mr Short who remains in control or new owners who come in, we will always support the lads and offer any assistance, at any level, in helping to re-establish this great club at the level it deserves to be.”

Short is aware of a pressing need to lift the uncertainty on Wearside and get a manager in place as soon as possible.

That was made all the more obvious by the release of the official fixtures yesterday, with Sunderland facing four of the promotion favourites in their opening five games.